HRIS Strategy

A New Year, A New V(h)UCA

hand holding a magnifying glass in front of purple sky

4 big ideas shaping the new world of work in 2021—and beyond! 

You are not alone if you’re waiting with bated breath for 2020 to come to an end. It has not been an easy year, to say the least—and that, in and of itself, is likely an understatement.

We’ve all experienced a flurry of unexpected in the face of what many call the pandemic of our lifetime. Whether that’s a badge of honor or a nightmare that we hope quickly fades away, we have all had to adapt quickly to stay afloat.

Businesses have especially felt this. Many turned their operations upside down as workforces went remote and collaboration shifted to virtual. The transition wasn’t easy, to say the least.

Times like these also fuel unparalleled innovation and spark new ways of thinking. For many businesses, this has created opportunities to boost organizational effectiveness and give employees new ways of driving impact in everything they do.

As we look back on 2020, we can’t help but take everything we’ve learned from this year and apply those lessons to our analysis of the biggest trends in HR for 2021.

4 HR strategies for embracing and learning from constant change

There is hope that life will return to “normal” in 2021. Even so, we must embrace a new business mindset, one firmly rooted in accepting and adapting to non-stop change, to evolve our business models, talent management strategies, and corporate philosophies for whatever unexpected surprises lie ahead.

No doubt, this kind of change can feel grueling. Different studies have shown that there’s only so much change that employees can absorb before hitting a wall. We know people are resilient, but that doesn’t mean they can keep running the gauntlet endlessly—nor should they.

This got us thinking about the VUCA model—an acronym first coined by the U.S. military for ‘Volatility,’ ‘Uncertainty,’ ‘Complexity,’ and ‘Ambiguity,’ used for decades to help teams navigate through the most challenging circumstances.

No truer words have been used to describe 2020. But in the world of HR, this wasn’t hitting the nail on the head. So we asked ourselves, “What does VUCA really mean through the lens of HR?” to come up with our own variation on a theme, called V(h)UCA:

We brought together 4 HR experts from around Europe, to discuss the big trends for HR and the workplace in 2021. Watch our full ‘virtual’ video panel discussion on YouTube

Virtuality – The role of technology and the virtual world at work

Teams had no choice but to begin working from home during the first lockdown—and some businesses have even kept strict remote working policies until the COVID-19 pandemic winds down. The way people now communicate, collaborate, and stay productive has fundamentally changed thanks to the latest digital tools and technologies reimagining how people work.

Humility – Facing new challenges means admitting we don’t have all the answers

We all have to listen more. What are our employees thinking and feeling? What are they struggling with most during this tough time? And the list goes on. There has never been a time when empathy and human-centric has been more important. While staying adaptable amid all this change, we must also give employees the space to innovate, communicate, learn, grow, and of course, thrive.

Connection – Diversity, inclusion, and collaboration in a virtual world

Our sense of connection got rattled to its very core throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Humans thrive on interaction, discussion, and collaboration. Although new technologies still enable this to happen, businesses must take an extra step to ensure that teams feel even more connected when working virtually. It’s also an opportunity for businesses to embrace the diverse skills, expertise, background, perspectives, and ideas of their employees, empowering them to solve future challenges together. Making diversity and inclusion a priority enables every employee to make a marked difference.

Authenticity – Blurring the lines between the personal and the professional

Employees bring their full selves to work more than ever before. And they expect their business leaders to do the same. They don’t want to hear empty “talk tracks” anymore. They want to know you have a vision and a plan. As a result, businesses must shift away from top-down strategies and, instead, harness the voice of the employee in everything they do. During times of uncertainty and undue stress, transparency and honesty are absolutely critical. This is the responsibility of businesses today.


Finding Clarity in Chaos: HR Trends and the New World of Work in 2021

There’s a lot more where all of this came from. In fact, we’ve recently launched a new eBook that dives a lot deeper into the lessons we’ve learned from 2020 and how we’ve applied that to bringing our new V(h)UCA model to life. So be sure to download the eBook today and then let our team of HR experts help you become V(h)UCA-ready for the year ahead—and well beyond!